Fast & Furious 6 (2013) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

Fast & Furious 6 (2013)

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We're a full service Fast and Furious review crew here at Can't Stop the Movies.  Ryan and his friend Ben watched the first four films (Part I and Part II) in preparation for Ryan watching and reviewing Fast Five.Anyone who remembers when this series was about illegal street racingAndrew LIKE BannerThe Fast and Furious franchise has undergone some curious naming changes over the years.  First it was The Fast and the Furious, then 2 Fast 2 Furious, Tokyo Drift, and so on.  It's easy to make jokes at the expense of a franchise as meaty as this one that they just kept forgetting what their films were called but that would overlook that this franchise has managed to keep itself fresh for over twelve years now.  The name change just reflects that, with each film, the creative team has tried to do something a little different.

For a lot of this we have to thank director Justin Lin.  Who else would have thought to go from mixing Lost In Translation and Mario Kart for the third film to a grittier revenge film for the fourth?  Now in the sixth film Lin lets the characters we've spent years watching play off each other in a surprising bit of sentiment.  Sure, this is the kind of sentiment that comes with repeated scene of humans turned into projectiles, giant Erector set ramp cars with jet engines attached, and Dwayne Johnson once again lighting up the screen with that wonderful smile of his.  It's sentiment, Fast & Furious styled, with Lin closing out his neck of the franchise on the highest note possible.

Fast & Furious 6 picks up shortly after the Rio heist that concluded Fast Five with everyone in reasonably comfortable retirement.  Dominic (Vin Diesel) is shacked up on some seaside property with the added benefit of being immune from extradition.  His sister Mia (Jordana Brewster) and old friend Brian (Paul Walker) are expecting their first child.  Worldwide the rest of the crew is either taking it easy or continuing on their lives.  Luke Hobbs (Johnson) interrupts their retirement to help catch a similar crew of international thieves led by Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) and, unusually, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) - who seems to have recovered nicely from that bullet to the head she took in the fourth film.

This chase ends with what may be my favorite wonderfully absurd bit of dialogue all year.

This chase ends with what may be my favorite wonderfully absurd bit of dialogue all year.

This return from the dead fuels Dominic getting the crew back together to chase Shaw but also fuels the clunkiest parts of the film.  Her resurrection is so transparently contrived to get Rodriguez back into the film that it falls on the stupid end of the many "I can't believe I'm seeing this" parts of the story.  Also, neither Diesel or Rodriguez are very good at playing tender, so by roughly the fifth time Dominic is going on about how they won't give up on family I was ready to hit the large mute button.

But bringing the characters back together like this also shows just how well they've developed their personalities over the course of the series.  There are big, obvious laughs, like the way the penny-pinching Roman (Tyrese Gibson) inadvertently causes the demise of a vending machine by asking the rest of his millionaire crew for change.  Then there are many blink and you'll miss it gags, like the phone tag that Tej (Chris Bridges) gives the towering Hobbs.  Their personalities even fuel the action scenes, like the hilarious fight that Roman and Han (Sung Kang), two people who fight more than race, have with a parkour karate fighter.

Which brings me to why most people go to see these films.  Lin has outdone any previous entry in the franchise and the climax, which could have been a chaotic mess, cleanly follows the actions of over a dozen people in their attempt to do something impossible.  It is absolutely thrilling and perfectly plausible while it's happening onscreen, encapsulating every reason to go to the movies on a Friday night and cheer with a large crowd.

My feelings on how she's brought back aside, it's good to have Rodriguez back in the series.

My feelings on how she's brought back aside, it's good to have Rodriguez back in the series.

That moment, like so many of the smaller ones, show the franchise at its best with an eclectic multinational mix of friendly weirdos accomplishing something amazing.  Even the smaller action scenes are unique in their inventiveness.  One exquisite fight scene early in the film with Rodriguez and series newcomer Gina Carano (of MMA and Haywire fame) exchanging brutal blows that Lin is wise to stand back and let the camera watch.  The fight unfolds with logical precision with negatives quickly becoming positives, like a potentially fight-ending pair of handcuffs used as an impromptu weapon.

Invention is what has kept this series alive for six films.  I understand Lin's fatigue with his involvement in the series, he's barely had the opportunity to do anything else for the last seven years, but he created something wonderful out of parts that could have just been dumb and loud.  I was astonished when people got to say that the fifth in a franchise is its best.  Now I can make the just as surprising claim about the sixth.

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Fast & Furious 6 - TailFast & Furious 6 (2013)

Directed by Justin Lin.
Screenplay written by Chris Morgan.
Starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, and Dwayne Johnson.

Posted by Andrew

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